News blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood

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Neighbor reports suspicious activity over weekend

July 7th, 2014 by Mike

This email came in around 10 a.m.:

We live on Eighth Avenue Northeast at Northeast 104th Street and were out of town for the long weekend.

Our neighbors spotted three African-American males with backpacks walking down the street, one of whom started walking down our driveway. He spotted the other two going down 105th. He came over and questioned the guy on our property who apparently refused to talk. He told him he was going to call the cops and the guy just shrugged his shoulders.

Our neighbor did call the cops and there already happened to be a patrol car in the neighborhood. The cop stopped the guy and questioned him. He claimed his bus pass had blown out of his hand which is why he was on our property. (Obviously a lie.) The cops unfortunately couldn’t keep him on suspicion alone.

Glad we have awesome neighbors but it’s unfortunate that we have to be worried about going out of town. Please keep an eye out and continue to report any suspicious activity in the neighborhood.

Below is the 911 Incident Response Map for much of the weekend. This particular response is the top icon that looks like Sauron’s Eye. It reads “104XX BLOCK OF 8 AV NE. Final Call Type Category: SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES.”

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On the morning of July 5, a brush fire at the park

July 5th, 2014 by Mike

At 8:22 a.m. firefighters from Engine 16 were dispatched to a brush fire at Maple Leaf Reservoir Park.

The fire was on the park’s southeast side, roughly at Northeast 82nd Street and 14th Avenue Northeast. The smoke could be seen from anywhere in the park.

There was plenty of debris left from Friday night’s unofficial July 4th fireworks at the park, but the cause of the fire hadn’t been determined.

One firefighter said he did not find fireworks in the ashes, but speculated a cigarette butt might have started the smoldering blaze, which covered several feet yards.

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Happy Independence Day (plus ducks!)

July 4th, 2014 by Mike

Happy Fourth of July! From Maple Leaf Life (and the Dog Oasis).

Also, earlier this week Bobbi sent us photos and this note:

“Nature in Northgate:

“Hi, I live at Northeast 95th Street and Fifth Avenue Northeast and was walking to the Northgate Transit Center along First Avenue (Wednesday) when I came across this entourage – mother and 10 ducklings.

We helped them cross the street into a drainage pipe by light rail construction so they could walk up to the creek!

“I’m calling this drainage pipe the duck portal. The construction guys said there is also a beaver living by the drainage pipe.”

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July 1st, 2014 by Mike

Updated: Weather service says Sea-Tac has now hit 93 94 degrees. At Maple Leaf Life South we hit 93 at 4:04 p.m.

Update 4 p.m.: 92 degrees here (and at Sea-Tac), which the National Weather Service says is a record high for this date.

Today – July 1st – is the hot day of the week. Perhaps of the month. Certainly of the year so far.

At 1:30 p.m. it’s 85 degrees at Maple Leaf Life South. That was forecast to be the high for the day, but the day’s got a ways to go.

As Cliff Mass says in his One Day Heat Wave post:  “Make sure your fans are working.”

(He updated late this morning to say: “A lot of folks, particularly away from the water, should see 90F today.”)

He also says the University of Washington’s probcasts system prediction tool is calling for “an amazing” 92 degrees on the campus this afternoon.

Wednesday? 79 81 degrees, dropping to 72 for Independence Day.

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Summer reading program for students begins at library branches

July 1st, 2014 by Mike

This year’s summer reading program at The Seattle Public Library has started and lasts 10 weeks, to Sunday, Aug. 31st.

On this, the 95th year the library has offered free summer activities to mitigate the summer slide in academics, it has partnered with the Pacific Science Center for a special emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM).

A lot of information is available online, in addition to news releases about the programs for children and for teens/tweens .

Here are specific links to neighborhood branches and programs:

Northgate Branch events for children:

In addition, an “Aesop’s Fables” children’s program is being held at the Northgate Community Center rather than at the Northgate Branch.

Northgate Branch events for teens:

Green Lake Branch events for children:

Green Lake Branch events for teens:

NOTE that all libraries are closed for Independence Day, Friday, July 4th.

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Crow attacks and other neighborhood news of the past week

July 1st, 2014 by Mike

We’ve got crime and stolen packages, feral cats and a found iPod – but first, the crows!

Anyone trekking to the north entrance to Maple Leaf Reservoir Park will notice.

A pair of crows with a nest at 12th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 89th Street are ardently defending their young – to the point of dive-bombing passers by.

Our crows are actually a little late – most chicks have fledged by mid-June.

Our news partner The Seattle Times has mapped more than 50 such crow attacks in the area and created a map. That coverage is here.

In other news:

Art emails over the weekend:

This morning, in broad daylight, at about 8 a.m. (Saturday morning) someone tried to steal our car.

They easily got into the locked car and managed pick the lock on “the club” (the old one with a double-sided key)

They were unable to get the car started but took a few bags of stuff out of the trunk.

This was on Northeast 100th Street near 15th Avenue Northeast.

We reported it to the police.

The officer said the club was a good deterrent but not 100% effective.

I just wanted to let the neighborhood folks know to keep their eyes open especially since it was in broad daylight.

And Greg emailed last week:

On my way home today I saw an individual removing packages from a neighbors house on Northeast 82nd Street and Eighth Avenue Northeast. I followed them and got their license plate.

I decided to loop back to the home to see if the neighbor was home-the individuals had returned and were clearly interested in whether I was observing them.  Upon reporting it to SPD they informed me that (particular) car has a high number of “hits” when it comes to reports of suspicious activity in this and surrounding areas. But they have yet to apprehend them.

He described the car as a black Saturn VUE SUV, and the occupants as two Hispanic males and a white male with a shaved head “SPD says these crimes along with home invasions spike in the good weather so folks should keep a look out.”

Meanwhile, Jessie reports a found iPod on Saturday. “We found a black iPod in front of our house on Northeast 96th Street between Eighth Avenue Northeast and Roosevelt Way Northeast. It belongs to someone named Nicholas but it is locked. We would like to find the owner; can you please post something on the blog and if they can unlock it they can have it back.”

Finally, we have a neighbor, Sharon, with a plea for the Friends of Campus Cats Jumble Sale. (more…)

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Fireworks viewing July 4 at Reservoir Park?

June 29th, 2014 by Mike

Deb emails:

Some friends and I thought about trying to watch fireworks around the city from the Reservoir Park.

Since it’s the highest point in Seattle we thought perhaps we could see something, but I wanted to check with Maple Leaf Life if anything more is known about this. Is any activity planned at the park, and do you think it’s possible to see Seattle (and Bellevue?) fireworks from there?

We know it may not be the best view in the city but it would be convenient to see at least something!

In past years people have often gathered on the southeast side of the old (lower) park to watch the Seattle fireworks. We don’t recall being able to see across the lake to Eastside fireworks.

The view should be spectacularly better from the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park.

We haven’t yet heard about any organized viewing parties. But the forecast for July 4 is great: Mostly sunny, with a high near 70 and an overnight low of 53 degrees.

Incidentally, we are a high hill – but not the highest

Maple Leaf tops out at 466 feet above sea level on Roosevelt Way Northeast next to the Blue Saucer.

PS: The view from the park is good – but the video above was taken from a houseboat dock on the east side of Lake Union.

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Lost on 17th Ave. N.E. – Cougar the Cat

June 22nd, 2014 by Mike

Josh emails: “I live on Northeast 86th Street & 17th Avenue Northeast.  My cat Cougar has been outside since Wednesday night. She usually doesn’t go far and will come back in the house but has not done so yet.

“She is all black with a pink collar. She is very skittish and has a distinct meow when scared. She will be vocal when she is in a safe place like a bush or under a porch.

“If you see her, call Josh at 206-719-6937. Thanks!”

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Maple Leaf crime update since late April

June 21st, 2014 by Mike

Late last week Michael emailed:

Hey, just a heads-up that our house on 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 97th Street was broken into via a kicked-in basement window on Tuesday the 17th of June.

Small LED TV, jewelry, purses (thankfully emptied of their contents), a NOOK and a small amount of cash were stolen.

Seattle PD responded and cleared the house and filed a report. One of the responding officers said August tends to be the worst month.

Please be attentive and don’t be afraid to call 911 if you see suspicious people/vehicle(s).

The map at right is of property crimes in the neighborhood since our last report in late April. Specifically, it shows home and commercial burglaries and car thefts/car prowls. (And possibly stolen bicycles, because we forgot to uncheck that box on the police crime map.)

The map also emphasizes a point another neighbor emailed about earlier in the month.

“So you’ll know, the northwest portion of Maple Leaf is quite prone to crime and is probably the base from which many car prowlers and burglars originate.”

Crime in the Northgate area is something we’ve reported on often. For example, “Home intruder reported, plus an amazing 38 crime incidents near Northgate,” or “And the best place in town for a kid to get arrested is … the mall!

On the map, the circles in that area show 2, 6 and 18 individual reports, almost all of stolen cars or car prowls.

That’s one sort of crime this neighbor is concerned about.

“Last Thursday, June 12th, I saw a tenant at the Olympic View apartments (9800 Fifth Ave. N.E.) working on his late-model Toyota Tundra pickup, parked in the carport area of the building. We talked a bit and he said that the system for sound and navigation (telematics) had been stolen out of his truck, at around 3 to 3:30 p.m.

“I would encourage you to mention this occurrence in the Maple Leaf Life blog, as there have been similar incidents at this address.”

His concerns run more deeply, though.

“In September of 2008, several – three or four – young guys tried to steal the sound system out of a truck, south of where I live. The owner of the truck, who himself was just 19 years old, came out and could see this occurring from the balcony of his apartment, so he grabbed a rifle.


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Maple Leaf plane crash? Man and Corgi investigate

June 19th, 2014 by Mike


This dispatch arrived overnight from John Wolff (we’ve received dispatches from John before):

Working headline: Maple Leaf Aviation Disaster

“The wreckage of missing light plane – a very light plane – was found Tuesday at the base of a transmission tower near Maple Leaf Park by a K-9 unit on routine patrol.

Rescuers have been unable to reach the crash site because it is inaccessible. “It’s near the summit of one of the highest peaks in Seattle, and surrounded by vegetation, terrain, and a chain-link fence,” complained a frustrated searcher.

Cause of the accident has not been determined, but it is believed that the aircraft hit the ground. “It may have struck the tower first – it might have been pilot error, navigation error, or both. Or it could have been a mistake,” speculated an FAA investigator off the record. “Normal flight paths are located either to the left or the right of immovable obstacles, but if these parameters are exceeded, an abrupt decrease in airspeed can result.”

Rescuers hope that a search dog will be able to reach the crash site Thursday if they throw a Cloud City doughnut over the fence into the enclosed area. “Nothing can stop a corgi if there’s food involved,” boasted Al, a Maple Leaf S.A.R. dog who asked that his last name not be used.

There have been no further reports from the theatre.

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City now thinks Maple Leaf’s underground reservoir might fail in catastrophic quake

June 19th, 2014 by Mike

Update: Seattle Public Utilities has now (mid-morning) issued a press release:

SPU Director Ray Hoffman said the utility has been working collaboratively with the reservoirs’ designer, Denver-based MWH, to recover the costs of the retrofits. The rigorous seismic analysis was set in motion in March 2011 after MWH notified SPU of possible seismic deficiencies in their work.

“MWH has been working with us, voluntarily paying costs incurred and cooperating every step of the way — and we expect that to continue,” said Hoffman. “When the dust settles on these projects, we believe we will still be at or below the original budget, and that utility rates will be unaffected by the retrofits.”

Hoffman emphasized that without the retrofits — even in a monster quake — the reservoirs are in no danger of catastrophic failure, and they pose no risk to public safety. And he said SPU will work to minimize disruption of activities in the city parks that have been built atop the reservoirs.


Inside the Maple Leaf reservoir before it was filled. Photo courtesy Dane Doerflinger Photography

The city and its contractors now believe that the four underground reservoirs that serve Seattle, including the one under Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, might fail in a catastrophic earthquake.

Our news partner The Seattle Times has the story here. Our earlier piece, saying Seattle Public Utilities was looking into the problem, is here.

From today’s Times story:

In September, the city will begin the estimated $7.6 million process of retrofitting the West Seattle Reservoir, based on a series of high-tech simulations that found the 30 million-gallon water vault could suffer leaks substantial enough to empty it in days to weeks.

It’s likely the city’s three other underground reservoirs — Maple Leaf, Beacon Hill and Myrtle — will require similar retrofitting, and the price to strengthen all four could range from $25 million to $30 million, said Andy Ryan, spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities.

The utility began investigating the seismic deficiencies in March 2011, after the engineering company that designed the reservoirs, MWH, disclosed it had made an error in evaluating whether the structures would meet code using industry-standard calculations, which are based on aboveground reservoirs instead of underground ones, Ryan said.

One engineer: “It wouldn’t be a catastrophic immediate rush of water, but you’d start to lose water. You wouldn’t have any water left after a short period of time.”

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Two cat tales – one missing, one found

June 18th, 2014 by Mike

Update 6/20: Dash is back.

“I am pleased to say that Dash has returned. He was filthy dirty and starving, which leads me to believe that he accidentally got stuck in a garage or a shed, but he is free now. Thanks for posting on the blog and thanks to those that reached out to me.”


Jesse emails overnight: “We lost our black and white cat, Dash, Sunday night. He lives on Northeast Eighth Street and 103rd Avenue Northeast, and likes to travel the neighborhood.

“If found, please call Jesse at 206-909-3670.”

As it happens, on Sunday we received an email from Kennan:

Just thought I would put the word out that there’s been a longish haired grey and white cat with a bell on its collar hanging out around 12th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 92nd Street for the past two days. It’s extremely friendly and keeps trying to walk into people’s houses… have to assume it’s lost now that it’s been around a couple of days! Is anyone looking?

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The Maple Bar to replace Maple Leaf Grill

June 16th, 2014 by Mike

The Maple Leaf Grill closed about three weeks ago.

Now there are signs a new bar will open at the site, 8929 Roosevelt Way N.E.

“Please excuse our mess.  We will be reopening in August!

“The Maple Bar will be a family friendly pub during the day and cocktails, ales and wines for the adults in the evening. Open 12-12 weekdays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. weekends.”

It’s signed: “Cheers, Libby and Heather.”

Thanks to reader Rob, who spotted the sign and noted: “A liquor license application is in the window, and it looks like they will serve hard liquor.”

The old grill was posted on Zillow as a business opportunity only (not real estate):

Maple Leaf Grill, a neighborhood favorite since 1989, is located in a charming 1920’s house with views of Mt Rainier and the Olympics. With a cozy fireside dining room & a seasonal patio for 12 overlooking their herb garden, the grill has something for everyone & is ADA accessible. This turn-key opportunity features large kitchen w/ type 1 hood, walk in cooler, and efficient floor plan that seats 49. Basement w/ prep and storage space. Room to run catering service in addition to the restaurant.

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Does Maple Leaf need more trees? (And how to get them)

June 14th, 2014 by Mike

Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods program now has an online, interactive map showing the tree canopy across the city, as well as where new trees were planted between 2009 and 2013.

A thousand in 2013 alone!

So how come Maple Leaf is behind our neighbors in tree canopy? (More green means more trees.) Even PINEHURST is greener.

Help fix this inequality when the 2014 Trees for Neighborhoods application period opens in August.

Program participants receive:

Free trees (up to 4 per household): Each year we offer a variety of small, medium, and large trees appropriate under power lines, along the street, and in the yard.

Watering bags

Training on proper planting and care

Assistance applying for street tree planting permits

Ongoing care reminders and workshop opportunities, such as young tree pruning

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Lake City Farmer’s Market opens Thursday afternoon

June 11th, 2014 by Mike

The Lake City Farmer’s Market opens Thursday at 3 p.m.

The market will be open Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. until October 2nd. It’s located at Northeast 125th Street and 28th Avenue Northeast.

Berries, tree fruit, vegetables, fresh herbs, tomatoes, greens, nuts, pastured meats, bread and pastries, preserves, flowers and other in-season Washington-produced foods and farm products, including great ready-to-eat options.

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